I bought my rod, reel, line, and backing from Cabelas about 15-20 years ago. I put the whole thing together correctly, used it about 5 times, and quickly got so busy that I never got to use it again until now. Luckily I cleaned and dressed the line before I put it away last. I showed it to a guy at a local shop and he said it all looked brand new. The only complaint he had was that the rod was very dated compared to modern rods... but then he said he still has a Pflueger brand rod that's at least 20 years old and he uses it all the time.
The rod is about 8' long, rated as a 6-7 weight, and the line is a weight forward #6 floating line. I added a "loop" leader attachment that slips over the end of the fly line and uses a little section of shrink wrap to keep it on there securely. The leader is a new tapered Scientific Anglers #6 leader about 5 feet long (cut the tangle off) with a 5 foot section of .006 tippet. I use a leader straightener and the whole line lays down beautifully until I get over zealous (my longest ordinary cast is roughly 30 feet I'd guess).
Just as a side note, I had no idea what I was doing when I used the rod before... so I just imitated people I'd seen on TV. I could blast the line out more than 100 feet, but I lost every single fly on my back cast because I "cracked the whip". Now I know that the cast I was imitating is called a haul or double haul (and very poorly imitated).
I like your description and technique with the graphics. I'm going to get out this weekend and give it a try!